Driving Under the Influence: DUI in South Carolina

by | Mar 14, 2018 | Blog Posts, DWI, SC Criminal Defense

DUI in South Carolina DUI in South Carolina

DUI and DWI laws vary from state to state. The terms are typically used interchangeably in everyday speech. Under South Carolina criminal law, the technical term is DUI (driving under the influence). Though some people think that a DUI in South Carolina is just a traffic offense, it is actually a criminal matter that comes with some serious consequences, which can include jail time.

DUIs are complicated, and the cases can often take several months to resolve. There are often several factors to consider.  If you have been charged with DUI in South Carolina, you should contact a South Carolina criminal defense lawyer who handles these cases.

 South Carolina DUI Definition

DUI in South Carolina is based on Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC). In South Carolina:

  • Generally, is illegal to drive a vehicle if your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher.
  • If you are younger than 21 years old, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.02% or higher.
  • If you hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.04% or higher.

*** Though BAC is a big factor, depending on the facts and circumstances of your offense, it is possible to be convicted of DUI even if your BAC is under the legal limit.

Punishments for DUI in South Carolina

The penalties for a DUI in South Carolina will vary depending on the severity of your offense and the number of times you’ve been convicted of a DUI in the past 10 years.  If you drink and drive you will face both criminal penalties and administrative penalties with the South Carolina DMV.

License Suspensions

With every conviction of DUI comes a mandatory license suspension. For the first offense, that license suspension lasts for 6 months. For subsequent offenses, suspensions last indefinitely, but there may be some options for reinstatement after a certain period of time.

Jail time

The possibility of serving jail time for a South Carolina DUI depends on several factors, including the defendant’s BAC and the number of previous DUI convictions.  A person convicted of DUI in South Carolina can serve no jail time, or they can serve up to seven years. As you can see, the penalties vary drastically.


Fines for DUI conviction vary greatly. The fines typically depend on several factors including the defendant’s BAC and the number of previous DUI convictions.  Fines can be as low as $400 or as high as $10,000.

Other consequences

Depending on all the circumstances a person convicted of DUI also faces other consequences, including but not limited to:

  • A court-ordered installation of an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle at the convicted drivers expense.
  • An alcohol or drug intervention program.

If you are in need of a Rock Hill DUI Lawyer, a York DUI lawyer, or a Lancaster DUI lawyer, Gilles Law can help. We practice criminal defense (including DUI) in North Carolina and South Carolina. Contact us and we can evaluate your case and provide you with some insight on how we can help you.

DISCLAIMER – This forum is intended for general questions and comments about the particular law or topic. Comments are public and are not protected by confidentiality or attorney-client privilege; therefore, they can be used against you in court. Please refrain from revealing your identify or specifics about any actual criminal case. No attorney-client relationship is created in this forum.

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